Ohio State Team Doctor Abused 177, Leaders Knew

Dr. Richard Strauss

Dr. Richard Strauss

A now-dead Ohio State University sports doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students in what was described as "hazing" - and they claim the college was aware of the "open secret", according to a new report.

Team doctor Richard Strauss abused athletes playing at least 16 sports at the university plus others who attended a campus health center and an off-campus clinic between 1979 and 1997, according to the investigation. A message was left Friday seeking comment from Gee.

His family has said they were shocked at the allegations. Athletes joked about Strauss' behavior, referring to him with nicknames like "Dr Jelly Paws".

One student, a 14-year-old high school wrestler at the time of Strauss' abuse, told investigators Strauss molested other minors during the course of the doctor's work with high schools and an Ohio State wrestling camp.

Former Ohio State president Gordon Gee said he has no memory of complaints about Strauss sexually abusing male students.

The law firm hired to conduct the investigation for the school interviewed hundreds of former students and university employees.

"The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend", university president Michael Drake wrote in an email sent to students, faculty and staff Friday. "We thank each of them for their willingness to share their experiences".

In releasing the report, university president Michael Drake offered "profound regret and honest apologies to each person who endured Strauss' abuse". "Our institution's fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable - as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members".

Two lawsuits filed against Ohio State by dozens of plaintiffs allege school officials were aware of concerns about Strauss but didn't stop him. Jordan nor any other coaches were specifically named in the school's report.

As the allegations against him mounted, investigators said, Strauss pleaded with university administrators to keep his job.

Ohio State has sought to have the lawsuits thrown out as being time-barred by law, but university leaders have insisted they are not ignoring the men's stories.

The report on Strauss, who took his life in 2005, could cost Ohio State dearly by corroborating the lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.

At least one student accused Strauss of forcing him to endure an excruciating tweezer "procedure" on his genitals in the guise of treating an STD, but was not given any medication or follow-up instructions after he fled the office in pain.

Investigators said Strauss set up an off-campus clinic within months, receiving assurances from the associate vice-president of health sciences and academic affairs that "there would be no issue" with him engaging in part-time private practice while he was on Ohio State's faculty.

His actions were reported to the State Medical Board of OH that same year.

He said there was a "consistent institutional failure" that spanned years, adding that Ohio State - the nation's third-largest university, with almost 65,000 students and nearly a half-million living alumni - "fell short of its responsibility to its students, and that's regrettable and inexcusable".

The State Medical Board of OH said it never disciplined Strauss but acknowledged having confidential records about the investigation of a complaint involving him.